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  • Regulatory Update

China Drafts Administrative Rules for Hazardous Chemicals

China drafted new rules that require a safety information code on the inner and outer packaging of a hazardous chemical.

Hands of someone holding a phone with a QR code showing

February 4, 2022

By Lily Hou, PhD, CHMM, senior regulatory specialist, UL's Supply Chain team

On Dec. 14, 2021, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) drafted the new Administrative Rules for Safety Information Code for Hazardous Chemicals. This draft was for internal consultations among the Emergency Management Bureaus, the China Chemical Safety Association and the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF). Under the new rules, enterprises must print or affix a safety information code on the inner and outer packaging of a hazardous chemical manufactured or imported into China. The safety information code could be used by downstream users to access safety information, emergency measures and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). 

Background

Under Decree 591 of the State Council, Chinese manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemical products are obligated to register their products with the National Registration Centre of Chemicals (NRCC) through its online registration platform. NRCC has upgraded the online registration platform to support the new requirement for the safety information code. After registration, a unique safety information code will be generated for each hazardous chemical via the upgraded platform.  

In June 2021, the MEM launched the pilot of the "one enterprise, one product, one code" application, requiring a unique safety information code for each hazardous chemical produced or imported by each enterprise for management of hazardous chemicals in Guangdong province. Starting from Oct. 1, 2021, any hazardous chemical that does not have a safety information code displayed on the outer packaging will not be allowed to leave the factory or warehouse in the Guangdong province. The pilot work delivered promising results in Guangdong and is ready to be implemented nationwide. 

Hazardous Chemical Safety Information Code  

The Hazardous Chemical Safety Information Code symbol consists of four parts:

  • Chinese characters of "Hazardous Chemical Safety Information Code" (危险化学品安全信息码)
  • QR code
  • Abbreviation of the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM)
  • Hazardous chemical registration number or serial number (17 digits)

The safety information code should be included in a blank space on the safety label, for instance, the blank space in the bottom right corner, or next to the last pictogram. However, the safety information codes of all products from the same enterprise should be fixed in the same position on each label. 

The size of the safety information code symbol is dependent on the size of the chemical safety label. Generally speaking, the size of the symbol should not be smaller than the size of the pictogram in the label, and the length of the shorter side should not be less than 1 cm.

Downstream users can scan QR codes through WeChat or the Hazardous Chemicals Registration app to access chemical identity and safety information, including chemical name, registration number, hazard statements, first aid measures, fire-fighting measures, company name, emergency contact information and any additional information provided by the company. Users can also download the SDS and label. 

Exemptions

The following situations are exempt from including the safety information code on the inner and outer packaging of hazardous chemicals:

  • Hazardous chemicals whose volume does not exceed 100 mL in a single package; the safety information code is not required on the inner packaging of the product, but it should still be affixed on the outer packaging of the product
  • Hazardous chemicals for export only.
  • Imported hazardous chemicals for personal use only.

The new Administrative Rules for Safety Information Code of Hazardous Chemicals are expected to come into force in 2022.

References

  • Decree 591 of the State Council (Regulations on the Safe Management of Hazardous Chemicals in China), in Chinese only
  • News on Guangdong Province launching "one enterprise, one product, one code" application, in Chinese only

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